Sustainable Recycling of Waste in Beijing City


Conservation of the environment is the most dominant debates topic in the world. International body mandated to deal with the environmental issues is striving to formulate sustainable environmental conservation measures without compromising the socio-economic activities in the continent. The world leaders are further attempting to devise effective mechanism that would limit the emission of the greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This has been done in response to the adverse climate-related disasters that have struck different parts of the world leading to massive damages of properties and loss of life. Emission from the vehicle forms the major contributors to increase in the levels of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Nonetheless, the mechanism adopted in order to promote environmental sustainability is inadequate, because it compromises the ability of nature to meet future needs. As means of environmental protection, waste recycling plays a crucial role in reducing the environmental impact. However, the recycling method needs to be carried in a way that enhances sustainability. This research paper aims at analyzing whether the gas-guzzling recycling trucks in Beijing City enhance or worsen environmental conservation through emission of the greenhouse gases. The paper further will evaluate whether the recycling efforts adopted by the government are sustainable.


Literature Review

Sustainable development is becoming a popular phrase in the modern world. Environmentalists and the politicians understand that sustainable development is a concept that has to be incorporated into the concrete actions. With regard to the issue of sustainability, the most crucial case requiring scrutiny is the problem of waste and environmental emission. These two aspects have been identified as crucial to sustainability. According to Murray, waste recycling has been viewed as an important aspect of an efficient and effective solid waste management. The author further notes that recycling is only successful, if people support and actively participate in the process. Waste management in a city plays crucial role in achieving a sustainable city; however, waste management systems highly depend on the successful interaction and integration of the diverse range of activities, processes, and equipment, as well as people.

According to Thiele, the level of environmental pollution is rapidly increasing. The rate of change of the planet Earth is very rapid, especially in the developed countries that have undergone full industrial revolution. The importance and scale of the global human footprint are evidently high; thus, demanding sustainable measures to be implemented. Taylor further notes that it is essential to achieve sustainable development that strikes the balance between the economy and environment. This is because it has been a pressing goal that faces many nations and the world at large. As a result, developing and developed nations are interacting in an attempt to shift towards sustainable development.

Emission to the atmosphere has been identified as a major contributor to climate change. This remains a challenge despite the nations signing the environmental protocols, such as Kyoto protocol. Although Kyoto Protocol became effective in 2005, all member countries classified in the Annex, which includes 55 developed countries, are yet to reduce their emission levels. The protocol requires the countries to reduce their greenhouse emission to average of 5.2 percent. According to Show, The Kyoto protocol has been flawed by the signatory countries, especially those in the Annex 1. However, it is acknowledgeable that the protocol reflects some loopholes from the beginning that show legislation of reaching some treaty rather than impartiality of sharing the problem of gas emission.

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According to Khanna et al., emission of large quantities of greenhouse gases has essentially led to the emergence of the extreme weather patterns that significantly influence economic activities. Furthermore, it has also led to the occurrence of climate change-related disasters, such as flood and extreme temperature shifts. Though in the recent years China has strived to slower growth of the emission, such efforts have been unsuccessful due to the overreliance on coal and fossil fuel. It has also been documented that Chinese cities experience high levels of air pollution, above the levels reflected to be healthy by WHO.

According to Pollution in the Far East, the environmental pollution prevention strategies implemented in Beijing are insufficient to handle the environmental challenges facing the city. As a consequence, the citys progress towards keeping the global temperatures below 2 degrees centigrade is proving to be futile. The report has further indicated that global carbon emission from burning fossils will rise to a record high of 36 billion tons in 2014. With respect towards current emission pattern, China is expected to contribute 27 percent of the global carbon emission, with Beijing contributing 12 percent of the total contribution to the world. This figure is significantly high for a city that is striving to become environmentally sustainable through the reduction of emission levels.


This research study used analytical, reflective, and descriptive cross sectional study methods. The study reviewed the available literature and publications that were relevant to the topic. Review was conducted on the existing journals and books in order to develop an in-depth insight into the topic. This was crucial in order to identify the gaps that have been addressed in this paper. Furthermore, a cross-sectional descriptive study was utilized on a sample of 80 people living in Beijing city. This was in an attempt to understand their view with regard to the objectives of the study. The collected data were analyzed and interpreted in light of the outlined objectives.


Although some countries are making gradual progress towards the reduction of the emission level, Beijing city still remains one of the highly polluted cities in the world. The presence of the large industrial activities and vehicles has been attributed to an extreme level of emission. Furthermore, environmental degradation has further been attributed to the poor management of waste, with the available landfill being poorly managed. The use of garbage recycling trucks in the city of Beijing has not significantly contributed towards the environmental sustainability in the city. This is because the gas-guzzling truck emits a lot of gase to the atmosphere. Therefore, this makes it extremely difficult for the city to become environmentally sustainable.

In 2013, Beijing population was approximately 19.5 million, with waste generation of 6.69 million tons, which represent a daily waste production of 18.3 thousand tons per day. There are more than 25 stations for municipal waste management that are designed to treat 12.7 thousand tons per day. Furthermore, Beijing city has recycling truck, which utilizes recyclable materials. In 2010, the recycled materials in Beijing city amounted to approximately 4 million tons. The waste handling capacity of the city has been overwhelmed, since the existing facility can only handle 12.7 thousand tons daily. However, the daily waste production in Beijing stands at 18.7 thousand tons. In Beijing, there is approximately 3000 recycling trucks that haul away the waste out of the city. All the recycling trucks use fossil fuel, approximately 8500 gallons of fuel each year per truck. It is also worth noting that recycling trucks are the most polluting vehicles in Beijing contributing approximately 5 percent of the total pollution in the city. Therefore, it is evident that though recycling is crucial in the environmental protection, using recycling trucks in Beijing does not significantly reduce the level of environmental pollution. As a result, the city pollution levels continue to rise despite the institution of measure, such as use of recycling trucks by the government.

According to the study conducted in the Beijing city, 68 percent of the respondents were unsatisfied by the measures adopted to curb the environmental pollution in the city. 76 percent of the respondents felt that the measures adopted were problematic, claiming that they were more remedial than preventive measures; hence, unable to guarantee future sustainability. Furthermore, 62 percent felt that the government has only acted during the crisis. 58 percent of the respondents felt that the current environmental measures in the city, such as confiscation of the open barbecues, were unilateral. This is because such measures ignored other major causes of pollution, such as manufacturing companies and motor vehicles. Furthermore, the use of the recycling trucks in the city was opposed by many, because the landfills close to the city were poorly managed that has led to the development of the environmentally harmful odor. In conclusion, it is evident that the government-pioneered environmental measures in Beijing are unsustainable both environmentally and economically. As a consequence, the problem of environmental pollution has continued to affect the city dwellers, as well as the global population at large.

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In respect to the study, it is recommendable for Beijing to seek for the alternative means of waste correction, as well as transportation and recycling that are environmentally friendly. High environmental pollution in Beijing is attributable to the over productive economic development without considering the impact of such actions to the environment. As a result, the government needs to institute a holistic legal framework that comprehensively protects the environment in all aspects of economic development. Furthermore, it would be essential for Beijing to reduce the pace of its development without environmental consideration. It is evident that the economic growth in the city has led to excessive resource extraction; thus, making it difficult to protect the environmental degradation. As a result, this will make it possible for Beijing to become an environmentally sustainable city .

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